Zane Smith and his Front Row Motorsports team took advantage of a pit call and a caution with 14 laps to go to win for a second straight year at Circuit of the Americas on Saturday (March 25). Front Row Motorsports is now 3-for-3 at the track in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Smith led 16 of 42 laps en route to his ninth career win and second this season.
Kyle Busch rallied to finish second, Ty Majeski third, Tyler Ankrum fourth, and Ross Chastain, who had fuel pickup problems during the race, came back to finish fifth. Corey Heim finished sixth, followed by Nick Sanchez, Tanner Gray, Kaz Grala and Ben Rhodes, who broke a drive shaft exiting turn 20 on the final lap to fell to 10th.
“Man, just a shoutout to team FRM (Front Row Motorsports) Chris Lawson for that amazing strategy.” Smith said in victory lane. ” That worked out for us good with that caution advancing us in front of the No.41 (Chastain). The strategy of putting Kyle (Busch) back there and us starting on front row was just perfect.”
Chastain and Busch led the field to the green flag in the 42-lap race. The field wasn’t able to make it a lap before the first yellow for a mechanical issue for Ed Jones, making his NASCAR debut for Young’s Motorsports. Christian Eckes and Chastain swapped the lead on the restart, before a second caution for Carson Hocevar spinning and getting stuck in the gravel brought most of the field to pit road.
Eckes and Majeski stayed out and restarted on the front row on lap nine. Eckes would lead them to the end of stage one; however, there was no caution thrown due to NASCAR’s rule changes on road courses. Eckes pitted immediately after winning the stage, giving the lead to Majeski.
Busch then passed Majeski for the lead on lap 14. Chastain restarted 17th on lap nine and 10 laps later passed Busch for the lead. Busch would fight back and regain the lead on lap 22, maintaining it to the end of stage two, but a caution on lap 26 caused Busch to pit and restart mid-pack, handing the lead to Smith with 14 laps to go. Smith would cruise to the victory from there, winning by over five seconds.
2023 NCTS COTA Results
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is back in action Saturday, April 1 from Texas Motor Speedway. You can watch the race on FOX Sports 1 at 4:30 p.m. ET.
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If I was the truck owner of 38, I would deduct from his pay the cost/damage done to the truck after that obnoxious burnout. I hope this is a lesson to all. NASCAR and owners put a stop to these obnoxious burnouts. Drivers, act like you been there before.